Religion in Society

Supreme Court Should End Arizona Subsidy for Religious Schools

| by AUSCS

Church-State Watchdog Group Says Tax-Credit Scheme Violates Constitution 

The Supreme Court should strike down an Arizona tax-credit scheme that funds private religious education, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The high court announced today that it will rule on an Arizona program that gives taxpayers a 100 percent credit for donations to school voucher organizations that pay for tuition at religious and other private schools. Most of the money has ended up subsidizing religious education.

“Arizona’s convoluted scheme is a backdoor way of subsidizing religious education,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “I hope the high court sees through it.”

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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the program last year, holding that it violates the separation of church and state.

In 2002, the Supreme Court upheld a Cleveland voucher plan that funded mostly private religious schools. The court held that vouchers were one option among many available to parents. Critics say the Arizona plan is different because it funds mostly sectarian schools and does not create real choice in education.

The case is Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn.